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Featured Article
Sunday, May 24, 2015

Out of My Mind:
Going through the open doors!


Recently I was in Portland, Oregon for a regional all British car show which this year chose the LandRover as the theme car. The turnout was excellent as there were 98 of those beasts for the show. But the real thrill came when I stopped by Powell's Bookstore downtown.

I had actually never seen Multilingual Computing on the newsstand, and I know Powell's had started carrying it. Arriving after closing hours, I knocked on the door hoping they would let me in just to take a little “peek.” I quickly realized, as I noticed my reflection in the glass, that my appearance was, would you say, a bit rough. Being at a LandRover rally and having camped all weekend, I looked more like I was homeless and living on the streets than like a publisher anxious to catch first sight of his magazine actually in a bookstore.

After a little more knocking and a few persistent moments, the cashier, who had been counting her money for closing, finally walked over to the door to speak with me in that glass-muffled voice. Knowing how funny it would all seem, I just came right out and explained the whole situation. I told her I had driven all the way from Idaho at 45 miles per hour to see my magazine on their newsstand and I was leaving early the next morning.

I saw her roll her eyes slightly and turn around to yell something to an invisible co-worker. She then looked back at me and asked, “Okay, which magazine?” Proudly I said “Multilingual Computing.” As if she actually had heard of a magazine title with so many syllables. To my complete amazement, she smiled and said, “Oh ... I know that magazine. Come on in.” The door opened wide.

Bewildered that she had actually heard of the magazine and in a visible state of disarray from not having slept much through the rainstorm the night before, I must have looked even more peculiar now that I was close-up. She called the manager of the periodicals over to us, and I explained who I was and my situation again -- this time pulling my camera out of my pocket and sharing my hope to take a picture of this great moment.

“No problem, right over here,” he said. As I followed, he turned to me and said, “Hey, I recognize you from your picture.” I'm like, “What?” This guy, whom I've never met in my life before, is telling me that he has looked at my magazine and even recognizes me. Is this fame or what?

As we approached the rack of magazines, I could feel the nervousness welling up inside. This was the great moment, that tell-all of success. I'm thinking, “OK, where can they shove this thing? Where is it hiding?” As I start to bend down on my knees to see the bottom rack he points up and says, “Right here.” And there it was, Multilingual Computing in full view, right smack dab in the middle of the top rack. You know, right there between WordPerfect Magazine and Portable Computing. Exactly where I would have put it myself.

I couldn't believe it! They must have known I was coming. Someone must have paid them, I started thinking. But no, this was real. It actually was there on the newsstand next to all the magazines I've been buying myself for years. Overwhelmed and excited, I quickly fired off my sought-after pictures for proof positive. I sensed I was feeling the proud moment of a parent whose child had just entered college.

Just as they were letting me out the door, a man approached and asked to be let in. “Oh, no, another publisher,” I thought. This man had a different story though. He explained he had just driven six hours to come pick up a book that he needed the next day for a class and had ended up at the wrong store. Taking this as my exit cue, I said good-bye and was walking away when I heard, “I'm sorry but we're closed and have shut down all the registers.” He should have tried a different line and brought a camera.

Our art director, Suzanne, received a fax from a previous co-worker of hers in the graphics community of New York. He had lost touch after she moved to Idaho and was delighted to see her name in the masthead of Multilingual Computing, which he saw on the newsstand at J&R Music World in New York City.

Since then, other calls have come in from Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles. Happy readers are letting us know that they are finding our magazine in such stores as Barns & Noble, Tower Books, Computer Literacy, Kinokuniya, Printers Inc and CompuBooks. So far, we have about 250 stores that are carrying the magazine, and more doors are opening up for us.

In the past few months we have gone through other doors and distributed the magazine at the American Translators Conference, the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, the Localization Industry Standards Association Conference, Globalizing Software, Stanford's Conference on Japan's National Information Infrastructure, the US-Japan Expo and the Armenian Computing Conference. Throughout 1995 we will be at one to two conferences every month including the new SoftExpo in January and the Globalizing Software Conference in February.

To some these events would not play as significant, yet I can't help but believe that something important is being achieved in the life of “Multilingual Computing.”

— Seth

February, 1995